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Congressional Medal of Honor Society

Stories of Sacrifice

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Philippine Insurrection - U.S. Marine Corps

Hiram Iddings Bearss

  • Rank: Colonel (Highest Rank: Brigadier General)
  • Conflict/Era: Philippine Insurrection
  • Unit/Command:
    1st Marine Brigade
  • Military Service Branch: U.S. Marine Corps
  • Medal of Honor Action Date: November 17, 1901
  • Medal of Honor Action Place: Cadaean & Sohoton Rivers Junction, Samar, Philippine Islands
For extraordinary heroism and eminent and conspicuous conduct in battle at the junction of the Cadacan and Sohoton Rivers, Samar, Philippine Islands, 17 November 1901. Col. Bearss (then Capt.), second in command of the columns upon their uniting ashore in the Sohoton River region, made a surprise attack on the fortified cliffs and completely routed the enemy, killing 30 and capturing and destroying the powder magazine, 40 lantacas (guns), rice, food and cuartels. Due to his courage, intelligence, discrimination, and zeal, he successfully led his men up the cliffs by means of bamboo ladders to a height of 200 feet. The cliffs were of soft stone of volcanic origin, in the nature of pumice, and were honeycombed with caves. Tons of rocks were suspended in platforms held in position by vine cables (known as bejuco) in readiness to be precipitated upon people below. After driving the insurgents from their position, which was almost impregnable, being covered with numerous trails lined with poison spears, pits, etc., he led his men across the river, scaled the cliffs on the opposite side, and destroyed the camps there. Col. Bearss and the men under his command overcame incredible difficulties and dangers in destroying positions which, according to reports from old prisoners, had taken three years to perfect, were held as a final rallying point, and were never before penetrated by white troops. Col. Bearss also rendered distinguished public service in the presence of the enemy at Quinapundan River, Samar, Philipine Islands, on 19 January 1902.
Medal of Honor Recipient Hiram I. Bearss
Medal of Honor Recipient Hiram I. Bearss
Additional Details
  • Accredited to: Indiana
  • Awarded Posthumously: No
  • Presentation Date & Details: April 5, 1934
    Presented by Pres. Franklin D. Roosevelt
  • Born: April 13, 1875, Peru, Miami County, IN, United States
  • Died: August 26, 1938, Peru, IN, United States
  • Buried: Bearss Family Cemetery (MH), Peru, IN, United States
  • Location of Medal: National Museum of the US Marine Corps, Quantico, VA

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